The CA Legislature has been busy working on new laws for 2020. Employers need to be aware and prepare for how these new changes may impact their workforce. Below is a summary of a legislation that will impact your operations:
Assembly Bill 9 Employment Discrimination: Limitation of Actions
AB 9, also known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (“SHARE”) Act, extends the deadline to file an unlawful allegation of unlawful workplace harassment, discrimination, or civil-rights related retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) from 1 year to 3 years. AB 9 will impose a statute of statute of limitations period that is significantly greater than the federal standard and doubles the current state standard. However, the Act does not revive lapsed claims.
Assembly Bill 5 Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors
AB 5 codifies the “ABC Test” adopted by the California Supreme Court in 2018. The Assembly Bill imposes a tougher legal standard for classifying workers as independent contractors.
The “ABC” Test presumes a worker is an employee unless the hiring entity establishes the worker is:
A: Free from control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work
B: Performs work that is “outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business,” and
C: Customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
In addition to codifying the “ABC Test,” AB 5 applies retroactively applies the test claims made under the Labor Code in order to enforce wage order claims. The test applies prospectively to all other claims made under the labor code and the unemployment insurance code.
Assembly Billy 25 Amendment to California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)
The CCPA grants consumers various rights regarding personal information held by businesses, including the right to know, access, and request deletion of their data.”
AB 25 clarifies that the CCPA gives rights to ALL individuals that a business collects personal information from, including job applicants, current and former employees, contractors, emergency contacts, and dependents/spouses for purposes of administering benefits. Any personal information a business maintains that can identify these individuals is subject to CCPA.
Assembly Bill 51 Prohibition of Arbitration Agreements
AB 51 bars employers from requiring employees or applicants to waive any right, forum, or procedure for violation of FEHA or the Labor Code as a condition of employment. The Bill also prohibits employers from threatening, retaliating, discriminating against, or terminating employees or applicants for refusing to waive any right, forum, or procedure.
Further, the Bill proscribes mandatory arbitration agreements and arbitration agreements that require employees to opt out of a waiver “or take any affirmative action in order to preserve their rights.”
The Assembly Bill does not invalidate any agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). To the extent an arbitration agreement or class action or jury trial waiver is not governed by the FAA, effective January 1, 2020, an employer may only enter into an arbitration agreement or class action or jury trial waiver with a California employee if that employee voluntarily and affirmatively chooses to enter into such agreement or waiver.
Assembly Bill 749 Settlement Agreements
The Bill voids “no rehire” provisions in settlement agreements entered on or after January 1, 2020. The bill seeks to prohibit stipulations that restrict an employee’s ability to work. This Bill applies to parent, subsidiaries, and affiliates of the settling party.
There are several notable exceptions to the law, including where the employer has made a good faith determination that the employee engaged in sexual harassment or assault. Additionally, the law does not require an employer to rehire an individual “if there is a legitimate non-discriminatory or non-retaliatory reason for terminating the employment relationship or refusing to rehire the person.”
Senate Bill 83 Additional Paid Family Leave
SB 83 increases benefits under the state’s family paid leave program from 6 weeks to 8 weeks of subsidized time off. This law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.
The senate bill also establishes a task force to review additional increased benefits for 2021.
Senate Bill 530 Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Training
The deadline for mandatory sexual harassment training is extended to January 1, 2021 for employers of seasonal, temporary, or other employees “hired to work for less than 6 months.”
Senate Bill 688 Unpaid Wages
Senate Bill 688 amends Labor Code § 1197.1, which currently permits the Labor Commissioner to issue a citation where an employer has failed to pay at least the minimum wage. The law expands the power to instances where the employer has contractually promised to pay more than the minimum wage but has failed to pay the promised wage.
Be prepared and update your workplace policies and procedures. Contact an employment attorney or HR Specialist if you need assistance. Also, check to make sure your organization carries a comprehensive Employment Practice Liability Policy. Let us know if you have any questions or would like us to provide you with a quote. We are here to help!
This article is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice